Last summer I went to Berlin for a creative non-fiction course held at Universität der Künste. I wanted to get a sense of how Syrian refugees were integrating with the city and to see what obstacles the recent rise in Islamophobia posed for them. I met Samir al-Hajjar, an engineering student who fled Damascus and was making his way towards a job in Berlin. Even for a secular Muslim as himself, he still found it difficult to make money and to make friends in Berlin — he tackled that by creating an ad for himself and his friends on social media that went viral, offering Berliners anything from help on their homework to meeting up for a beer.
Check out below the conversation between us in which we unpack Islamophobia, Berlin nightlife, and reminiscing about our past: